Are Pre-Filled Forms the Solution to Tax Compliance Costs?

The Tax Foundation’s Jared Walczak appeared on the April 8th episode of CBS Sunday Morning to discuss the potential issues with having the IRS issue pre-filled tax returns. You can view it here. “April is the cruellest month” according to T.S. Eliot, and he didn’t even have to worry about the U.S. income tax filing deadline. With Tax Day fast approaching, Americans are sitting down to that most distasteful of civic rituals, tax preparation. It’s little wonder, then, that around this time every year, there’s always a renewed interest in “return-free filing” (or pre-filled tax forms), designed to take some of the effort out of paying taxes. There are, after all, real costs to tax preparation. According to somewhat dated IRS statistics, filing taxes takes an average of eight hours and costs $120 for each nonbusiness return. Anything that could potentially save American households more than two billion hours is worth considering. But…

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